Marie Curie and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

At Musgrove Park Hospital  , part of Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, we provide one-to-one emotional support to people who are dying and to their families and carers.

The Marie Curie Companions volunteer service has been highlighted as outstanding practice by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)   and was shortlisted for a National End of Life Patient Safety Award  .

The challenge: hospital patients needed more emotional support

Staff at the hospital identified a need to spend more time offering emotional support to dying patients and their families and carers. But clinicians often did not have enough capacity to offer that sort of support.

The solution: specially-trained volunteers on call

Marie Curie Companions offers a same-day response from dedicated, specially-trained volunteers who are available from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week.

They offer emotional support and comfort for people who are dying and for their families and carers. A quick phone call is all it takes to refer someone to the service, and a volunteer can normally arrive within an hour.

The support each volunteer provides depends entirely on the need of the patient and their families and carers.

It could be listening, giving information or simply being with the patient so their loved one can have a break or take care of other commitments.

The outcome: valued by patients, families and staff

Hospital staff say the service brings value to patients, families and staff. They report feeling reassured when a Marie Curie Companion is with a patient, as they know how important it is to give dying patients and their families time and support.

By offering time, companionship and much-needed emotional support to patients and families, these volunteers also reduce stress among our staff. Their presence on our wards allows nursing staff to focus on all clinical priorities, knowing that that includes the holistic needs of this special group of patients.
Dr Tom MacConnell, Musgrove Park Hospital

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